Live Commentary: Rafael Nadal vs. Ryan Harrison - as it happened

Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning a point against John Isner during the men's final of the Western & Southern Open on August 18, 2013
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Sports Mole provides live text coverage as Rafael Nadal takes on Louisiana-born Ryan Harrison in tonight's opening-day main event at the US Open.

Rafael Nadal took on Louisiana-born Ryan Harrison in the opening-day main event at this year's US Open.

Second seed and 12-time Grand Slam winner Nadal began the week as the favourite to win the men's title at Flushing Meadows.

The 27-year-old Spaniard was unbeaten on hardcourts in 2013, having won 15 consecutive matches and picking up titles in Indian Wells, Montreal and Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Harrison, who was ranked 97th in the ATP World Rankings, had failed to progress beyond the final-32 stages in his last three tournaments on this surface.

Would there be an upset, or would Nadal's sensational run continue? Find out how the match unfolded below with Sports Mole's blow-by-blow text updates.


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7.51pmGood evening. One male seed has already fallen today. British number three Dan Evans, ranked 179th in the world, overcame 11th seed Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-4 6-2. That result was certainly a shock, but its place on the back pages would be in severe doubt if Nadal were to lose to Harrison.

7.52pmPREDICTION: I'm going to stick my neck on the line and say that WON'T happen. I fully expect Rafa to progress in straight sets.

7.55pmThese two players have only faced each other on one previous occasion. Earlier this year, they met at Indian Wells, where Nadal prevailed 7-6 6-2.

7.57pmNadal and Harrison have appeared inside a breezy Arthur Ashe Stadium. The match is due to begin in around six minutes.

7.58pmTonight's umpire is Greece's Eva Asderaki.

8pmHarrison to serve first. Play is just moments away...

Nadal 0-0* HarrisonHarrison fails to make first serves in the opening two points and he is immediately punished by Nadal 0-30.

Nadal 0-0* HarrisonThe American then finds two big first serves to level the game at 30-30.

Nadal 0-0* HarrisonBREAK POINT NADAL: Rafa has just hit the shot of the tournament so far... Deep behind the baseline and returning a Harrison overhead, he somehow manages to raise his racquet above his head and whip a forehand pass beyond the American, who is at the net.

Nadal *1-0 HarrisonNADAL BREAKS: Ominous start for Harrison as Nadal breaks to 30 in game one.

Nadal 2-0* HarrisonRafa consolidates his break by holding to 30. The Spaniard is far from delighted though, having produced two double faults in that game.

Nadal *2-1 HarrisonHarrison holds to love.

Nadal *2-1 HarrisonDespite Harrison being an American, the majority of the crowd appears to be behind Rafa tonight.

Nadal *2-1 HarrisonHope for Harrison as two unforced errors hand him a 0-30 lead on Rafa's serve.

Nadal *2-1 HarrisonHarrison twice goes long with forehands, before Nadal wins a thrilling point with a slice volley at the net. 40-30.

Nadal 3-1* HarrisonNadal holds to 30.

Nadal 3-1* HarrisonHarrison spurns three game points from 40-0 as Nadal battles back to force deuce...

Nadal 3-1* HarrisonBREAK POINT NADAL: Harrison is clearly frustrated and it shows as he produces his seventh unforced error.

Nadal *3-2 HarrisonBig hold for Harrison! The American saves break point as Nadal's forehand drifts wide. He then produces two huge aces to close the game out.

Nadal 4-2* HarrisonNadal holds to 30.

Nadal 4-2* HarrisonHarrison's forehand is misfiring right now. He floats one wide, before slamming one into the net. 0-30.

Nadal 4-2* HarrisonGreat recovery by Harrison. After Nadal slices a backhand into the net, the American takes the next two points with brilliant drop shots at the net. 40-30.

Nadal 4-2* HarrisonBoth players come to the net in the following point, which sees Nadal win an protracted exchange of volleys when Harrison slices wide. Deuce.

Nadal 4-2* HarrisonBREAK POINT NADAL: Harrison reaches game point, but then comes up with back-to-back double faults.

Nadal *4-3 HarrisonFor the second consecutive service game, Harrison survives break point and holds to 40. He is still in this opening set - just.

Nadal 5-3* HarrisonNadal finds himself under a bit of pressure at 15-30. However, he then switches to ultra-agressive mode, displaying expert agility at the net and holding to 30.

Nadal 5-3* HarrisonHarrison will now serve to stay in the set...

Nadal *5-4 HarrisonNo problem for the American, who holds to 15. However, he must now break Nadal to keep the opener alive...

Nadal 6-4 0-0* HarrisonFIRST SET NADAL: The world number two holds to 15 and takes the opener 6-4 courtesy of a solitary break of serve.

Nadal 6-4 0-0* HarrisonThat first set lasted 44 minutes and Nadal did not face a single break point during it.

Nadal 6-4 0-0* HarrisonHowever, in total, the Spaniard only won two more points than his opponent (34-32).

Nadal 6-4 *0-1 HarrisonHarrison holds to 15 in the opening game of set two, meaning that, for the time being, he takes the lead in the total points won competition.

Nadal 6-4 1-1* HarrisonNadal quickly levels by holding to 15.

Nadal 6-4 *2-1 HarrisonNADAL BREAKS: Nadal takes control of the second set in a flash, breaking to 15 with some unstoppable baseline hitting.

Nadal 6-4 *2-1 HarrisonIT'S SPITTING! Light drizzle begins to fall from the New York sky, prompting umpire Asderaki to temporarily suspend play. However, it looks like it is only a passing shower and the players are staying on court for now.

Nadal 6-4 *2-1 HarrisonThe rain has stopped, ball boys are drying the lines with towels and, to the delight of many in the crowd, Nadal is changing his shirt. Gun show.


Nadal 6-4 3-1* HarrisonNadal appears unfazed by the 12-minute delay as he holds to love.

Nadal 6-4 3-1* HarrisonThe Spaniard has been fantastic at the net today, winning 10 of 12 points.

Nadal 6-4 *3-2 HarrisonHarrison holds to 30.

Nadal 6-4 4-2* HarrisonNadal holds to 15.

Nadal 6-4 4-2* HarrisonHarrison produces two unforced errors, as 40-15 quickly becomes deuce. If Nadal breaks in this game, the set will surely be over.

Nadal 6-4 *5-2 HarrisonNADAL BREAKS: Two more ugly errors from Harrison. Not only has his serve been broken, it appears Nadal has broken his spirit too.

Nadal 6-4 6-2* HarrisonSECOND SET NADAL: The Spaniard seals the set with an ace as he holds to love.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 0-0* HarrisonAnyone for a New York bagel? I fancy that one could be on the menu in set three. Nadal is really firing now and, in truth, Harrison looks like he is feeling a bit sorry for himself.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 0-0* HarrisonCredit to Harrison as he finds three big first serves to kick off set three. 40-0.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 0-0* HarrisonBREAK POINT NADAL: Oh no! This is painful watching. Harrison loses his head and his service could soon follow. Four errors, three of them unforced, turn the game on its head and Nadal is now chomping at the bit, looking for his fourth break.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 *1-0 HarrisonNADAL BREAKS: Harrison pushes a cumbersome forehand long and Nadal claims an early break - just as he did in sets one and two.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 2-0* HarrisonNadal holds to 15.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 2-0* HarrisonSport is supposed to be fun, but Harrison looks like he could go all Sabine Lisicki and burst into tears at any moment. The crowd has also gone a bit flat. Rafa is playing very well, but this is not a contest.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 *3-0 HarrisonNADAL BREAKS: Harrison spurns two more game points and Rafa punishes him by breaking again courtesy of a stunning backhand pass.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 *3-0 HarrisonTWO BREAK POINTS FOR HARRISON: Shock! A combination of fearless, almost apathetic, ball striking from Harrison and a momentary period of slackness from Rafa provide the American with his first break points of the match. 15-40.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 4-0* HarrisonRafa reels off four straight points and holds to deuce. Perhaps the Spaniard was simply teasing his opponent?

Nadal 6-4 6-2 *4-1 HarrisonHARRISON HOLDS: The American, who failed to convert game points in games one, three and four in this third set, holds to 30 in game five and avoids the indignity of a bagel.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 5-1* HarrisonNadal holds to 30. He is just one game away from round two.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 *5-2 HarrisonHarrison holds to 15.

Nadal 6-4 6-2 *5-2 HarrisonNadal appeared to be saving his energy in the last game. He will surely up the tempo now, as he serves for the match...

10.09pmGAME SET AND MATCH NADAL The tournament favourite justifies his reputation, holding to 15 to seal a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory in round one.

10.15pmThanks for joining Sports Mole for tonight's match. I think Rafa deserves to have the final word, so here he is...

10.17pmNadal: "I am very happy to be back in New York. I missed this tournament last year, so I am very emotional to return and play in front of this great crowd." What a charmer! Good night.

Andy Murray of Grerat Britain serves to Julien Benneteau of France during the Western & Southern Open on August 15, 2013
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ATP RankingsPoints
1Scotland flag Andy Murray7,750
2Spain Rafael Nadal7,555
3Switzerland Roger Federer7,145
4Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka5,780
5Serbia Novak Djokovic5,325
6Croatia Marin Cilic5,155
7Alexander Zverev4,470
8Austria Dominic Thiem4,030
9Japan Kei Nishikori3,285
10Canada Milos Raonic3,230
11Bulgaria Grigor Dimitrov3,070
12France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga2,770
13Belgium David Goffin2,560
14Spain Roberto Bautista Agut2,425
15Czech Republic Tomas Berdych2,390
16United States Jack Sock2,335
17Pablo Carreno Busta2,305
18Lucas Pouille2,220
19United States John Isner2,110
20United States Sam Querrey2,060